Taking Your Dog’s Temperature

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Taking your dog or puppy’s body temperature need not be a Herculean task, if you know how to do it right!

Using a rectal thermometer

  • A task best performed by two people, preferably someone the dog knows and likes. If no help is available, make your dog lie down on his side and hold him as best you can. Talk to him soothingly.
  • Shake down the thermometer, and lubricate it well with petroleum jelly. Lift his tail and gently push the thermometer in with a twisting motion.
  • Insert the thermometer from one to three inches, depending on the size of your dog and hold it in place for at least two minutes.
  • After you remove the thermometer, wipe it clean and read the temperature. A temperature of 100.5° to 102°F degrees is normal.
  • Taking your dog's temperature in the ear.
  • Ear thermometers are a reliable and a less invasive way to take your dog's temperature. It works by measuring infrared heat waves that are emitted from the dog's eardrum area.
  • Place the thermometer deep into the horizontal ear canal to obtain an accurate reading.
  • A dog's normal ear temperature is between 100° to 103°F.
  • Do note that ear thermometers, if not used properly, are less accurate.

When to contact your vet

Contact your veterinarian if the temperature falls below 99°F or rises above 103°F. High temperatures can be a sign of an infection or an illness. A low temperature, on the other hand, can indicate shock or other serious illness. In either case, it's best to practice caution.

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